Monday, November 4, 2013
I saw this camera at the Wabash Depot Antique Mall Saturday for $6. Most of the time when I see these fairly common cameras in antique shops they are in bad shape and priced much too high. The Falcon Miniature however was clean, the shutter fired, and 6 dollars is pretty much what it is worth. So I couldn't pass it up.
The Falcon Miniature came with a box which lists all it's features on the side. It is a short list.
The body of the camera is made of Bakelite and reminds me of the body of the Argus A. I imagine that was intentional since the Argus A was very popular in 1939 when the Falcon Miniature was made by the Utility Manufacturing Company of New York NY. Utility was bought by Spartus Corp. in 1941 and Spartus continued to make the Falcon Miniature in Chicago. The one I have here was made in Chicago even though the face plate says New York.
I found a blog that has some photos taken by this camera. The photos don't look too bad. I imagine some young photographers cut their teeth on an inexpensive Falcon Miniature. The wide exposure latitude of b&w film made it possible to get acceptable results with such a simple camera. Some may not know that it wasn't until color slide film came along that photographers became more concerned about accurate exposure. With films like Kodachrome you had to be spot on with exposure. If you look through old camera ads there is a parallel in the rise of Kodachrome and the rise of exposure meters.
Anyway talk of more sophisticated equipment seems out of place when looking at the Falcon Miniature. It is probably one of the simplest cameras ever made. To me the vintage look of the camera is the main appeal. Maybe one day I will take some pictures with it, however I am in no hurry.
One recent claim to fame for the Falcon Miniature is that it is said to be the inspiration for the Sprocket Rocket from Lomography.com. Some people have found it possible to run 35mm film through the Falcon Miniature getting the film sprockets that some desire.